A Dissertation on Language in General,More Particularly on the Beauties and Defects of the English Language
By Henry Kett
Defects of the English Language
Although it is natural to indulge a partiality to our native language, as well as to our native soil; yet this presupposition ought not to make us blind to the defects either of the one or the other. We shall only advert to the principal imperfections of the language. Most of the words, except such as are of Roman or Grecian origin, are monosyllables, and are terminated by consonants; and this makes our pronunciation rugged and broken, and unlike the regular and easy flow of classic phraseology. Many of them are harsh and inharmonious; and there are some syllables which can scarcely be pronounced by an Italian or a Frenchman, whose organs of speech are habituated to softer expressions. “It is to the consonant terminations that the harshness of our language may be imputed. The melody of a language depends greatly upon its vowel terminations. In English not more than a dozen common words end in a: about two dozen ends in o. In y we have no less than 4900 words, about an eighth of our language; our words amounting to about 35,000.